|Linklater's opus proves American cinema is alive and well.|
Directed by Richard Linklater
Produced by Richard Linklater, Jonathan Sehring, John Sloss and Cathleen SutherlandWritten by Richard Linklater
Starring Ellar Coltrane, Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette and Lorelei Linklater
Over a decade in the making, Linklater's cinematic experiment is a captivating time capsule of a boy's formative years. Newcomer Ellar Coltrane is Mason, a normal American boy with an older sister (Linklater) and two divorced parents (Hawke and Arquette) trying to make it work. Mason - and Coltrane - grows up before our eyes, literally aging from 5 to 18 years old. In a somewhat episodic narrative, he experiences life and the challenges it throws his way, from changing grammar schools to leaving home for college. Boyhood is quite the experience for Mason, as it is for the viewer.
With a film so personal and so monumental, Linklater delivers what might be his masterpiece. The actors played these characters for a short time during many years, and they all meet the challenge of remaining consistent and faithful to their characters. Coltrane and Linklater, though unexperienced, give convincing performances with a natural screen presence, which only develops as the film progresses and the years pass. Meanwhile, veterans Hawke and Arquette are excellent in their tricky roles, offering some of the film's best moments. The structure of the film works very well, and the glimpses into this boy's life are thoughtfully rendered. While we don't get the full picture, we get a fascinating exploration of Mason's boyhood in a series of important moments. Boyhood wanders, learns and grows as we watch, and it's one of the best American films in recent memory.
Oscar Potential: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Hawke), Best Supporting Actress (Arquette), Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing (Coltrane deserves serious consideration, but it'd never happen.)